Recent news brought to our attention appear to reveal significant data on the Pentagon and its latest activity. But, what?
Based on investigations made by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and several other sources, the Pentagon has done it again.
Sources have it they paid a PR firm from the UK over half a billion dollars. Let’s see why.
Rumors started to circulate. In order to support a propaganda campaign, they have used the money to create a fake terrorist video.
Bell Pottinger, this is the name of the PR firm that came up with parts designed to look like Arabic networks and “fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.”
Connection between the Bell Pottinger Firm and the Pentagon
According to the Bureau’s release, important military officials did have a close connection to the members of the firm. They have made attempts to fabricate anti-terrorism propaganda.
In the client list of Bell Pottinger, we can find many famous names, besides the Pentagon. Margaret Thatcher, the government of Saudi Arabia and Augusto Pinochet’s foundation are just some examples.
Lord Tim Bell, former chairman of the firm confirmed data regarding the collaboration. The operation, he stated, was “covered by various secrecy agencies.”
Only three members knew about the plan: The Pentagon, CIA and the National Security Council. Reports have it, the firm began work as soon as the U.S. first invaded Iraq. The negative portrayal of Al-Qaeda was, of course, their main way to keep under close observation the followers.
Seeing how both General David Petraeus (commander of Iraq forces) and the White House did sign on the program, we can deduce that high officials already knew of their existence.
The Bureau stated:
“In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the US military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells – who no longer works for the company – told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was ‘shocking, eye-opening, life-changing.”
By tracking down federal records from Bell Pottinger, U.S army contracts, and much more, The Bureau caught site of this development.
One military contractor went as far as saying:
“White is attributed, it says who produced it on the label. Grey is unattributed and black is falsely attributed. These types of black ops, used for tracking who is watching a certain thing, were a pretty standard part of the industry toolkit.”
Several Pieces of Information Revealed
Based on these records, we can discover more information. Spending over $100 yearly, might be just the beginning.
The firm also hired more than 300 staff members- both British and Iraqi.
Does the Pentagon really have anything to do with all this?
“Identified transactions worth $540 million between the Pentagon and Bell Pottinger for information operations and psychological operations on a series of contracts issued from May 2007 to December 2011.”
It appears so. Within an interview with the Bureau, a former employee at Bell Potinger, Martin Weels also considered it strange. Before joining the group in 2006 he admitted to having no clue what this job implied.
Slowly, bits of information were disclosed: “You’ll be doing new stuff that’ll be coming out of the Middle East.”
He also added:
“I thought ‘That sounds interesting. “So I go along and go into this building, get escorted up to the sixth floor in a lift, come out and there’s guards up there. I thought what on earth is going on here? And it turns out it was a Navy post, basically. So from what I could work out it was a media intelligence gathering unit.”
Based on data, most of the work involved the creation of TV commercials which generally portrayed Al-Qaeda in a negative way.
Furthermore, other parts of the staff had another job. Their role was to enforce other segments which would lead the public into believing that Arabic stations created such commercials.
Overall, American involvement in the manufacturing process was not highlighted throughout the entire operation. The Bell Pottinger crew mostly took part in filming low definition bombings by Al-Qaeda. They released the commercials on TV, but only after editing them and adding over Arab voices.
The Bureau has gone as far as saying:
“The third and most sensitive programme described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. He told the Bureau how the videos were made. He was given precise instructions: ‘We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use al Qaeda’s footage,’ he was told. ‘We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format, and we need to encode it in this manner.”
“US marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells said: ‘If they’re raiding a house and they’re going to make a mess of it looking for stuff anyway, they’d just drop an odd CD there.”
CD’s such as these only played through Real Player. By automatically connecting the operator to the internet, Wells revealed how ‘the team embedded a code into the CD’s which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CD’s had been played.’
It appears, just three people had access to the tracking information: Wells, commander of U.S military and of course the manager of the PR firm.
Reaching a Conclusion
The Pentagon was able to confirm all this. Bell Pottinger did, in fact, work for the Information Operations Task Force.
Even more, an unconfirmed source had something else to add. An anonymous U.S. defense official has confirmed Bell Pottinger’s collaboration with the JPOTF, the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force.
Wells mentioned through his interview with the Bureau:
“We’d get the two colonels in to look at the things we’d done that day, they’d be fine with it, it would then go to General Petraeus. If [Petraeus] couldn’t sign off on it, it would go on up the line to the White House, and it was signed off up there, and the answer would come back down the line.”
Are our first amendment rights safe nowadays? Is the government constantly defying the press and the nation? They obviously have to gain from altered regional narratives, but the continued hijacking of the media is unacceptable.
Bell Pottinger has stopped creating material for the propaganda created by the U.S. back in 2011.